February 2017: Los Angeles Culture Challenge & Nordic Spirit Symposium

February brings another month of many opportunities to explore the rich diversity of Los Angeles. Highlights this month include a multitude of events to celebrate Chinese New Year and to honor African-American history and contributions.

For those interested in delving deep into Scandinavian history, there’s the Nordic Spirit Symposium hosted by Scandinavian American Cultural and Historical Foundation happening at California Lutheran University in Thousand Oaks this month. It’s a unique lecture/performance program that “blends music, dining and the free exchange of ideas to enhance the pleasure of learning.” For more details, see Weekend of February 11 & 12 below.

How will you explore the diverse richness of Los Angeles this month?

* WEEKEND OF FEBRUARY 4 & 5 *

Undiscovered Chinatown Highlighted Walking Tour, Chinatown, Downtown LA, Saturday, 2/4, 10:30am-12pm. Visit a temple, an herbal shop, art galleries, antique stores, and more! The 1 1/2 hour walking tour will take visitors to a number of off-the-beaten-track points of interest and will guide those interested in shopping to some of Chinatown’s best bargains and its trendiest shops. Wear comfortable walking shoes and be prepared to wind your way through a myriad of alleyways, plaza stalls, and classical courtyards to discover the charm of L.A’s Chinatown. You must RSVP as group size is limited. This tour is offered every first Saturday of the month.

Chinese New Year Festival @ Central Plaza, Chinatown, Downtown LA, Saturday, 2/4, 12pm-8pm. There will be family craft workshops, cooking demonstrations and a dumpling eating contest, culture and arts presentations, and martial arts sessions. Gourmet food trucks and Crafts & Vintage Market will also be present.

118th Annual Golden Dragon Parade, Chinatown, Downtown LA, Saturday, 2/4, 1pm. In celebrating over one hundred years of tradition, the Chinese Chamber of Commerce of Los Angeles presents the 118th Annual Golden Dragon Parade. With over thousands and thousands of individuals lining the parade route and thousands viewing the telecast each year, this colorful celebrating along North Broadway in Chinatown has become the premiere cultural event in the Southern California Asian-American Community.The parade includes almost two dozen floats, multiple marching bands, government officials, various dignitaries, entertainers, local business leaders, and cultural groups.

Chinese New Year Festival, The Huntington, Pasadena, Saturday, 2/4, & Sunday, 2/5. Celebrate the Lunar New Year at The Huntington as the Year of the Rooster begins. Families can enjoy crowd-pleasing lion dancers, amazing performances from a mask-changing artist, plus choreographed martial arts demonstrations, Chinese music, food, and much more. The festivities will take place in and around the Chinese Garden and other performance spaces.

Japan: Oni Masks for Setsubun Festival (Family Art Workshop), Junior Arts Center at Barnsdall Art Park, Hollywood/Los Feliz, Sunday, 2/5, 10am-12pm. Join instructor Estephany Campos for a free family art workshop in a real art studio. All materials are provided. Each Sunday a different culture and media are featured. This particular Sunday, special traditional treats will also be offered.

Chinese New Year Festival, Bowers Museum, Santa Ana, Sunday, 2/5, 11am-3:30pm. Celebrate the Year of the Rooster at the Bowers Museum’s Chinese New Year Festival with the excitement of the Lion Dance and the beauty of traditional Chinese music and dance. There will be art demonstrations and projects for the entire family.

Andell Family Sundays—Artist Bromance, LACMA, Miracle Mile, Sunday, 2/5 (offered every Sunday in February), 12:30pm-3:30pm. Two of the most famous superstar artists, Diego Rivera and Pablo Picasso, lived at the same time, were friends, and had a lot in common. These larger-than-life artists both had classical training in art—but loved to experiment—and they also shared a deep love of the ancient art from their respective countries—Mexico and Spain. Check out LACMA’s collection of works by both artists and artworks from ancient cultures. At Andell Family Sundays, make your own Diego- and Pablo-inspired art. Drop in anytime between 12:30 and 3:30pm.

Family Program: Larger than Life, California African American Museum (CAAM), Exposition Park, Sunday, 2/5, 1pm-3pm. Drop in and learn about the stars of CAAM’s courtyard banners, including Ella Fitzgerald, Langston Hughes, and John Outterbridge, and hear stories about these remarkable artists.

* WEEKEND OF FEBRUARY 11 & 12 *

The Pan African Film Festival, Cinemark’s BHC 15, Baldwin Hills/Crenshaw, Thursday, 2/9, through Monday, 2/20. People from around the globe gather to attend the largest Black film festival in the United States. From a $100 million blockbuster premiere to newly emerging Hollywood talent, The Pan African Film Festival (PAFF) showcases a broad spectrum of Black creative works from all over the globe, particularly those that reinforce positive images and help to destroy negative stereotypes. This 12-day festival also features other special events such as a spokenword fest, a children’s fest (Saturday, 2/11, kids ages 4-12 and their parents enjoy free film screenings, storytelling, and interactive activities all reflecting and rooted in the beauty and artistry of the culture of Africa and its diaspora, also offered next Saturday), and a fashion show.

2017 Nordic Spirit Symposium: Power, Politics and Belief in Reformation Scandinavia, California Lutheran University, Thousand Oaks, Friday, 2/10, & Saturday, 2/11. In 2017, peoples around the globe are celebrating the Lutheran Reformation of 1517. The 2017 Nordic Spirit Symposium will examine the history of the Reformation in Sweden and Finland through lectures and music geared for the general public. This is Part 2 of the two-part series on the history of the Nordic countries during the Lutheran Reformation. Denmark, Norway, and Iceland were treated in Part 1; Part 2 will emphasize Sweden and Finland. This program will delve into the long-term impact of the Reformation as well as the history during the 1500s.

African-American Art Festival, STAR Eco Station, Culver City, Saturday, 2/11, 11am-4pm. Enjoy African drumming and dancing, children’s art exhibits, interactive art projects, games, live entertainment, games, and local vendors.

Italy: Inlay Box for Valentine’s (Family Art Workshop), Junior Arts Center at Barnsdall Art Park, Hollywood/Los Feliz, Sunday, 2/12, 10am-12pm. Join instructors for a free family art workshop in a real art studio. Each Sunday a different culture and media are featured. All materials are provided.

Andell Family Sundays—Artist Bromance, LACMA, Miracle Mile, Sunday, 2/12 (offered every Sunday in February), 12:30pm-3:30pm. Two of the most famous superstar artists, Diego Rivera and Pablo Picasso, lived at the same time, were friends, and had a lot in common. These larger-than-life artists both had classical training in art—but loved to experiment—and they also shared a deep love of the ancient art from their respective countries—Mexico and Spain. Check out LACMA’s collection of works by both artists and artworks from ancient cultures. At Andell Family Sundays, make your own Diego- and Pablo-inspired art. Drop in anytime between 12:30 and 3:30pm.

* WEEKEND OF FEBRUARY 18 & 19 *

The Pan African Film Festival, Cinemark’s BHC 15, Baldwin Hills/Crenshaw, ongoing until Monday, 2/20. People from around the globe gather to attend the largest Black film festival in the United States. From a $100 million blockbuster premiere to newly emerging Hollywood talent, The Pan African Film & Arts Festival (PAFF) showcases a broad spectrum of Black creative works from all over the globe, particularly those that reinforce positive images and help to destroy negative stereotypes. This 12-day festival also features other special events such as a spokenword fest, a children’s fest (Saturday, 2/18, kids ages 4-12 and their parents enjoy free film screenings, storytelling, and interactive activities all reflecting and rooted in the beauty and artistry of the culture of Africa and its diaspora), and a fashion show.

35th Annual Black History Parade and Festival, Robinson Park, Pasadena, Saturday, 2/18, 10am. Pasadena is proud to host one of the largest Black History Month parades in the U.S.A. The parade begins at 10am in Altadena and finishes in Robinson Park, Pasadena. After the parade, enjoy the Black History Festival from 12:00-4:30pm. There will be food for purchase, fun activities for kids, displays, music, and other free fun.

France: Illuminated Manuscripts – Book of Hours (Family Art Workshop), Junior Arts Center at Barnsdall Art Park, Hollywood/Los Feliz, Sunday, 2/19, 10am-12pm. Join instructors for a free family art workshop in a real art studio. Each Sunday a different culture and media are featured. All materials are provided.

Andell Family Sundays—Artist Bromance, LACMA, Miracle Mile, Sunday, 2/19 (offered every Sunday in February), 12:30pm-3:30pm. Two of the most famous superstar artists, Diego Rivera and Pablo Picasso, lived at the same time, were friends, and had a lot in common. These larger-than-life artists both had classical training in art—but loved to experiment—and they also shared a deep love of the ancient art from their respective countries—Mexico and Spain. Check out LACMA’s collection of works by both artists and artworks from ancient cultures. At Andell Family Sundays, make your own Diego- and Pablo-inspired art. Drop in anytime between 12:30 and 3:30pm.

Kids in the Courtyard: Accessorize to Mesmerize, Fowler Museum at UCLA, Westwood, Sunday, 2/19, 1pm-4pm. How does what you wear make you who you are? In celebration of the exhibit Enduring Splendor: Jewelry of India’s Thar Desert, take a closer look at ancient and contemporary jewelry from this region of India and create accessories that represent your unique personality.

* WEEKEND OF FEBRUARY 25 & FEBRUARY 26 *

Little Tokyo Walking Tour, Japanese American National Museum, Downtown LA, Saturday, 2/25, 10:15am-12:15pm. Relive history and learn about present-day Little Tokyo with JANM docents. Comfortable walking shoes are recommended. Weather permitting. Buy tickets in advance. $12 members, $15 non-members. Museum admission is included. Limited to 20 participants.

28th Annual Mardi Gras Celebration, The Original Farmers Market, 3rd & Fairfax, Saturday, 2/25, & Sunday, 2/26. L.A.’s favorite Mardi Gras celebration returns for its 28th year straight. It features the finest New Orleans and Zydeco music, strolling parade bands, activities for kids, bead throwing, and much more.

African-American Festival, Aquarium of the Pacific, Long Beach, Saturday, 2/25 & Sunday, 2/26. Join the Aquarium of the Pacific as it hosts its fifteenth annual African-American Festival, celebrating the rich diversity of African-American and African cultures. The weekend will feature live entertainment and arts and crafts. Festival performers include Mardi Gras second line dancers, hip hop and break dancers, jazz musicians, interactive drum circles, West African dancers, and storytellers.

Tibet: Prayer Flags for Losar New Year (Family Art Workshop), Junior Arts Center at Barnsdall Art Park, Hollywood/Los Feliz, Sunday, 2/26, 10am-12pm. Join instructors for a free family art workshop in a real art studio. Each Sunday a different culture and media are featured. All materials are provided.

Art Without Walls: How Would You Defeat Racism?, Hammer Museum, Westwood, Sunday, 2/26, 11am-1pm. Art can transcend barriers of all kinds. Join artist Sandy Rodriguez in creating art inspired by social justice issues, children’s literature, and Hammer exhibitions. One photograph of Black Panther Party leader Huey Newton seated on a throne-like chair has inspired many people, including artist Kevin Beasley. Decorate a throne with others, take a seat, and declare how you would defeat racism in your world. Recommended for children ages 5+, teens, and grownups.

Andell Family Sundays—Artist Bromance, LACMA, Miracle Mile, Sunday, 2/26, 12:30pm-3:30pm. Two of the most famous superstar artists, Diego Rivera and Pablo Picasso, lived at the same time, were friends, and had a lot in common. These larger-than-life artists both had classical training in art—but loved to experiment—and they also shared a deep love of the ancient art from their respective countries—Mexico and Spain. Check out LACMA’s collection of works by both artists and artworks from ancient cultures. At Andell Family Sundays, make your own Diego- and Pablo-inspired art. Drop in anytime between 12:30 and 3:30 pm.

Family Jam: Masquerade!, Fowler Museum at UCLA, Westwood, Sunday, 2/26, 2pm-4pm. Celebrate the masquerade traditions of Mardi Gras! Enjoy music and make your own fancy mask in celebration of the exhibit Joli! A Fancy Masquerade from Sierra Leone. Drop-in on #FamilyJam, an interactive performance featuring musicians, artists, and other performers from all over the world. Families learn dance moves, songs, and stories from a variety of cultures.

If you have suggestions about future events and celebrations to include in upcoming months, please email me here with details. Feel free to add events for this month in the comments below. I also welcome feedback on any events you have attended. Thank you!

2 thoughts on “February 2017: Los Angeles Culture Challenge & Nordic Spirit Symposium

  1. We’ve been trying to get to the Huntington for a while, now! MAYBE we can get to the Chinese New Year celebration.

    Also — I didn’t realize it was 500 years since Martin Luther’s little ruckus. Wow! Thanks for all this.

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